SAP's global Social Media survey

Shel Israel has been asked by SAP to do a global survey on Social Media. Shel emailed me a personalised list of questions as part of the survey process.

Following on from Hugh’s inspired example, I am also going to answer Shel’s questions through my blog.

Hey Shel,

thanks for considering me for this project. I’m deeply honoured to be included.

Here we go:

1. You were among the first Irish bloggers to build international relationships. How has this impacted you and your career?
Shel, this has had a tremendous consequences for my career. It has raised my profile internationally and as a direct result, I have received speaking invitations and consulting gigs from all over Europe. In the last number of weeks, for example, I have been to Las Vegas, Bilbao, Copenhagen and Madrid.

And all this international recognition has also translated into increased credibility (and therefore more business) at home.

2. Describe the evolution to date of social media in Ireland. What tools came in when and what tools do you see being the strongest moving forward?
Social Media uptake still has a long way to go in Ireland before it becomes common in the workplace, for example. LinkedIn is probably the Social Networking business tool with the greatest penetration here. And most users of LinkedIn here would probably not be familiar with the expression Social Networking.

Facebook is making some inroads into this space recently but still has a ways to go.

Other tools like blogs, podcasts and wikis are starting to receive attention from the business community but more from the perspective of a marketing tool. There is not enough talk about using social media behind the firewall for facilitating/improving internal company communications.

3. Have many Irish businesses adopted social media tools? If not, why do you suppose not. If yes, how are they using them?

As I mentioned above, the uptake is poor enough. The majority of users of Social Media software tends to be amongst the technology companies for obvious reasons.

The main reasons for the poor uptake, so far, are a combination of a lack of understanding of the benefits which accrue from Social Media, in company inertia, and time poverty!

Social media arose out of the downturn of the tech industry in the early 00’s. Many very clever people had time to invest in learning/writing new Social Media apps. Now that the economy is booming once more, people have less time to spend on investigating new business practices.

4. Is broadband still the formidable barrier that it was when we last talked? Do you see a workaround coming?

The rollout of broadband in Ireland is still quite poor in terms of speed and penetration compared to the rest of the OECD but the situation has improved somewhat in the last couple of years. Mobile broadband is starting to take off with O2 offering 3mb HSDPA for €30 per month. This offering is supposed to ramp up to 14.4mb in the next 12 months. This is going to put serious pressure on the DSL offerings who are currently offering 3mb for €40 per month.

5. How much of Irish social media is work related?
The vast majority of Social Media consumption in Ireland is non-work related (think YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, etc.). And a lot of the work-related uses of Social Media are for personal profile building as opposed to corporate brand management.

Having said that, as more young people make it into the workforce, Social Media tools are leaking into the workplace as frustrated employees deploy them to work around the strictures of more traditional Intranets.

6. What social media trends do you see moving forward?

  1. Increased opening of APIs (and therefore mashups of functionality)
  2. Increased deployment of Social Media tools on corporate Intranets
  3. Increased rollout of ERP applications capable of publishing events as RSS feeds and the requisite client apps necessary to consume them

7. Do you see any way that social impact is changing Irish impact with EU or the US? Why or why not?
Situated at the Western edge of Europe and being primarily an English-speaking country, Ireland has always looked to the UK and US as markets of choice ahead of our EU partner countries. The higher usage of Social Media in the US means that it will be easier to network (and therefore learn of/create business opportunities) with US based companies over and above their EU counterparts.

8. What social, business and tech trends do you see emerging?

  • Radical transparency -> Meritocracy
  • Improved products and improved customer service
  • Increased focus by companies on brand management
  • More adoption of open standards by companies leading to greater buy-in from consumers

9. Can you give me a couple of brief case studies of Irish business using social media in interesting or successful ways?
Unfortunately Shel, I’m only aware of one case study done on Irish business using social media in interesting or successful ways. However also check out:

  • Murphys Ice Cream and Bubble Brothers – two small Irish companies in the food and drink sector using blogs to promote their business.
  • it@cork – a not-for-profit, IT professionals networking organisation which uses blogs and podcasts to promote the organisation and its events and conferences
  • CIX – CIX is documenting the building of one of the most energy efficient data centres in the world on its site (which is running on blog software).

[Disclosure – I am a director of CIX and am chair of the it@cork conference committee]

10. Additional comments.
As I dashed this off, all of the above is likely to be wildly inaccurate or missing key bits that I overlooked. Please feel free to correct me/expand on my observations/meanderings in the comments of this post or better yet, in a post in your own blog. Shel has said that he will be delighted to get as many insights into this as possible.

UPDATED: Post updated to add a link to Aonach’s case study on WordPress

10 thoughts on “SAP's global Social Media survey”

  1. Ger – for a minute I thought you were saying it was priceless, as in hilarious, and wondered what I had inadvertently written that was so funny!

  2. Hi Tom

    No offence but you can’t seriously limit your point of view only to Cork businesses! The survey is about Ireland not only about a tiny portion of the country (don’t flame me my wife is from Cork ;-))
    A lot of things exist in Dublin too (by the way still the official Irish capital!!) and I am sure in Galway and Letterkenny too. I suggest that if you answer this survey seriously you use your connections to get more information from everywhere, then Ireland will be seen as a more vibrant and less gloomy country. Come on you can find better than Murphy Ice cream to represent a nation!
    Also the broadband penetration has largely improved in the past 6 months according to official figures you can read in different newspapers last week-end (Sunday Business Post for example). I think it’s something like 16% now (OK still poor but it’s a start).
    Also YouTube choosing Ireland for one of it’s european sub domain is a great sign of social network dynamism. Gavin Joyce is doing well with the Dotkick project too. So you see a lot of interesting things happens here 😉

  3. Hey Paschal,

    thanks for stopping by and commenting on this post. I’d love to point out interesting uses of Social Media in Dublin, Galway and/or Letterkenny. I did say in my post that in my post that I was likely to be missing things that I had overlooked.

    Please feel free to suggest “Irish business using social media in interesting or successful ways” in Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny or any other parts of Ireland you can think of.

    I am aware that Ireland’s broadband situation has improved and I noted it in my post. Having said that, we are still one of the worst countries in the OECD in terms of broadband speed and deployment.

  4. Tom Thanks I will! Yes agree broadband deployment is bad in Ireland but you have some positive stories.
    My agency is responsible ofr the brodaband project in primary and secondary schools and this has been a success so far.
    The goal is almost reach to have all the schools equipped with fast internet access.

  5. Also the broadband penetration has largely improved in the past 6 months according to official figures you can read in different newspapers last week-end (Sunday Business Post for example). I think it’s something like 16% now (OK still poor but it’s a start).

    No, they are projecting it is 16% which is still behind the EU average and is still shockingly poor. We should be at 30-40% if we want Ireland’s homegrown small businesses to do well on an Internation footing. We are still 3 years behind the rest of Europe. One thing to point out about the EU average is that it is getting easier to reach thanks to many of the poorer countries joining. Measuring against the main EU countries like France, Netherlands, the UK, Denmark etc you’ll see we are slipping away from them.

    It really isn’t ecnouraging either than the new Green Minister is parroting what his predecessor was saying yet in opposition he savaged all this spin.

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